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PTFE tools, the holy grail?

Discussion in 'Sculpting' started by Einion, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. Einion Well-Known Member

    For anyone who has ever had problems with putties sticking to tools (all of us?! :D) one of the guys over on CMON has been trying a few things and Teflon may be the final word.

    Here's the thread if you'd like to read a bit more, plus there are some links to where you can find the raw material in the UK and US.

  2. megroot A Fixture

    Thanks Einion.
    But where do i get some teflon things.

  3. Einion Well-Known Member

    See the thread I linked to Marc, there are some links posted within it for suppliers. The one in the UK seems to be the best value, although I don't know yet what the shipping rates are like.

  4. Ray Active Member

    PTFE suppliers

    The two links that follow are suppliers that carry PTFE material. The first should lead you directly to the appropriate listing, while the second leads only to their home page where you will have to conduct your own search through their raw materials list. I've used both these suppliers and have been happy with the service received.

    Of course only just, today, having learned about the application to sculpting I have no experience, yet, of using the material for making sculpting tools. I am however, thanks to Einion's kindly informing us, eager to give it a try at the first opertunity (that is when my order arrives).



  5. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Chemically this makes a lot of sense that PTFE would work. You should be able to wipe excess putty right off and virtually none should stick. I assume you'd have to start with rod stock in a reasonable size and cut, shave, sand, & grind to suit. I think I'm going to try this myself. I've bought stuff from Small Parts before via online. They are fast and reliable.

    All the best,
  6. Roy New Member

    Hi Einion...hope all is well with you, long time no see..

    Many thanks for the 'heads up'...I took a look at the thread over on Cmon..and ended up getting some teflon rods from ebay..8 sticks 5mm dia x 500mm length for just under £6.00 including delivery...I am real fond of my little silicone bronze tools but I am really keen to give this a shot..it seems to be available in a whole bunch of sizes so offers the possibility of all kinds of tools..it seems really affordable too..

    Thanks again..

  7. megroot A Fixture

    Gonna look over there again.

  8. Einion Well-Known Member

    Yep - "the lowest friction coefficient of friction for any solid polymer" is a good start and it's chemically inert too.

    I wonder if the only reason it never occurred to so many sculptors to try it out is simply that, like me, they didn't know PTFE was available to buy in solid form!

    Yah. That's the fun part!

    Hi Roy, hope you're well too. Just saw your pic in the Mil Mod Euro special receiving your award :)

    Sure beats the prices of commercial steel sculpting tools! I have to wonder about how it'll hold up over time but still, it's not like we can't reshape them just like with cocktail sticks if they get blunt.

    I'm very fond of my metal tools too but who knows, maybe these will work well enough that they'll take their place almost entirely? If not the Teflon sprays will definitely be worth investigating for our existing tools - no more messing with saliva, grease, oil, Vaseline, moisturiser...

  9. bonehead A Fixture

    I have been doing this stuff for well over 20 years. I have never had any trouble with putty sticking to tools.

    All you have to do is keep the tools wet with water. No noxious chemicals, grease or "special" tools are necessary. Maybe I am just an old curmudgeon, but I have always thought that the best solution to a problem is the one which is simplest and most effective.

    Water has never failed me. And I am still using the same ancient box of toothpicks I bought over 20 years ago. You can't beat that for economy.

    Just my two cents.
  10. Baguette New Member

    Well I have already tuned some tools from ptfe rods and can't say that I was impressed. Istill prefer rubber clay shapers for building putty.
    The tools have to be really smooth and polished to be usefull
  11. Einion Well-Known Member

    I use saliva 99% of the time so I'm with you there (talc for some rolling) and sticking isn't a problem for me most of the time either... but... that's using MS or Apoxie Sculpt. Not as easy with GS; I'd forgotten just how sticky that can be until I used it extensively for a conversion lately, where I did all the work including a replacement head using GS, for practice.

    True dat! I had to move away from using smaller tools because of hand cramps, that's one major reason I gave the metal wax sculpting things a shot and they really do work better for me as well.

    You do have to polish them, same as with any material used for a homemade tool because smooth tool = smooth mark. And the smoother the better for most work.

  12. Jeff Active Member

    I made my own tools out of brass. I like Mike was using tooth picks but it would bum me out when they would break usually in the middle of a project. So I made some out of brass. Have not had one break yet. Mike is also right about keeping the tools wet, it really helps.

    Attached Files:

  13. Baguette New Member

    don't want to mislead you guys It does have the potential as I took them out again and tried them again.
  14. Anders Heintz Well-Known Member

    I orderd some yesterday so we will see how they work out. They are pretty cheap, I think I paid around $4.50 for 3 different ones...the shipping was like 8.95 which is a total bummer, hate when shipping is more then what you are getting.

    Im curious though as to what material this stuff is like, does it cut and sand like metal or what?
  15. Roy New Member

    Hi Anders...I have the feeling it will be similarly workable to hard nylon rod stock...

    I'm just really looking forward to getting mine purely because it's something new to try...and I'm just plain curious.

    All the best...

  16. Einion Well-Known Member


    According to the specs it should be like really tough rubber (a little harder than a truck tire).

  17. Anders Heintz Well-Known Member


    Hmm.....the plot thickens! Im really looking forward to getting them as Im like Roy...curious!

    If the consistency is like hard rubber, I wonder how it will take to sanding etc as we need to have a point on the tool. The plan is to cut off a piece about 3 cm long, put it in the dremmel and sand it to a fine point.

    I will keep you updated once the goodies arrive and we have made some tests!
  18. Anders Heintz Well-Known Member

    As promised here is a quick update!

    I got the stuff in the mail today, I got 3 different sizes as you can see in the pictures. The first impression of the material was that it felt like a 'hard' candle wax. I guess the best way to describe it is that it is like soft flexible resin. It was more flexible then I imagined it to be. I cut out a piece of each size and made some sculpting tools out of it, I have yet to try sculpting with them, but it sands good and is easy to carve. The tests I did on wet putty seems promising, although the material have a little too much 'give' for my preference, especially the smallest diameter one. The larger two are pretty sturdy, but not as sturdy as the brass tool Im currently using. I expect the tools to feel a bit like a mix between a silicone paint remover and a brass rod sort of tool, or maybe more like a very stiff silcone tool. Anyways, I'll try them out later tonight and will let you know what I think of them.




  19. Einion Well-Known Member

    Excellent! Thanks for the update Anders, especially with the photos.

  20. Anders Heintz Well-Known Member

    No problem!

    What are these sticks supposed to be used for? Im sure they are not simply sculpting tool materials!

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